Call for accelerated ban on petrol and diesel auto sales

Lloyd Doyle
October 21, 2018

"If we are serious about being EV world leaders, the government must come forward with a target of new sales of cars and vans to be zero emission by 2032", stated Rachel Reeves, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

The IPCC last week published a landmark report on global warming to mark its 30 anniversary, outlining for the first time the stark differences between a global temperature increase of 1.5C and a 2C trajectory.

The committee wants the target brought forward to 2032 to make the United Kingdom a world leader in electric vehicle (EV) development.

"And we also outlined measures to bring forward a major uplift in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, paving the way for the widespread adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles". The Committee on Climate Change has made clear in their judgements on the Clean Growth Strategy and the "Road to Zero" strategy that these plans do not go far enough to tackle transport emissions, putting the UK's long-term carbon reduction targets at risk. The National Grid, the RAC and BYC UK were also consulted during the compilation of the report.

The group said that although the United Kingdom was a world leader on electric cars, ranked fourth globally in sales past year, that status was at risk due to the government being too vague on its targets. But the committee warned that the Government's targets are "vague and unambitious", and the lack of clarity on which vehicles will and will not be sold in 2040 is "unacceptable" for an industry trying to make investments.

A clear United Kingdom target is needed for new cars and vans to be "truly zero-emission" - and it should be brought forward to 2032 to make the United Kingdom a world leader, the MPs said.

Ms Reeves said: "Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, and present exciting opportunities for the United Kingdom to develop an internationally competitive EV industry and reduce our carbon emissions".

The report is the latest in a string of calls for the UK's 2040 date for the phase-out of new petrol and diesel auto sales to be moved forward. In Norway, where EV take-up has already been stronger than the United Kingdom, there is a target of 2025, while India, China, the Netherlands and Ireland want to ban combustion engines by 2030.

What does the Govt's plan to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040 mean? A 2030 deadline would cut the gap by 85%, or 98 million tonnes of CO2e, it claims.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents the United Kingdom automotive industry, has also criticised the report - branding the suggestion of a 2032 deadline as "nigh on impossible".

The 'Electric vehicles: driving the transition" report responds to government ambitions, reiterated in the clean air strategy last summer, for the sale of "conventional' petrol and diesel vehicles to be banned from 2040; more recently the Government's long-awaited Road to Zero strategy has set out a further ambition that by 2030, at least 50% - and as many as 70% - of new auto sales will be ultra low emission, alongside up to 40% of new vans.

The report said the country should improve incentives for the uptake of EVs and criticized a recent decision to cut grants for new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles from November.

He said: "Zero emission vehicles make up just 0.6 per cent of the market meaning consumer appetite would have to grow by some 17,000 per cent in just over a decade".

The report also calls for financial incentives to encourage EV purchases - including for a planned reduction in low-emission BIK company vehicle tax rates to be brought forward.

"Finally, the Government needs to be consistent". "To do so requires consumers feeling confident that they can reliably access chargers at a range of locations, including at home, on-street and in hubs".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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